Negrense sugarmen should be thankful to Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima who assured the National Federation of Sugarcane Planters’ Association president Enrique Rojas that he (Purisima) will not tolerate any individual or group responsible for sugar smuggling.
No doubt about it, the Customs Bureau has already filed charges and forfeiture proceedings against the owners of several smuggled sugar intercepted through cooperation by the Sugar Anti-Smuggling Organization of the Sugar Master Plan Foundation.
But what caught my attention was that Purisima never mentioned the issue of premixes. This is sugar with coloring and a group of additives which had been imported into the country by beverage firms.
This has been found by the Sugar Regulatory Administrationlaboratory as 99.5 percent sugar with just five percent of coloring and other additives. In short, as pointed out, it is 99.5 percent sugar.
But they had been passed off as premixed sugar. Thus, they were taken into the country and reportedly passed off as entitled to free tariff and not to the 35 percent due to refined sugar imports.
But other than that, Purisima’s avowed determination to support the Mast Plan anti-sugar smuggling crusade is a welcome news to the industry, especially the NFSP.
Actually, the principal task off implementing the finance chief’s support for the anti-sugar smuggling drive actually falls on the shoulders of Customs Commissioner Angelito Alvarez. And, so far, the BOC has acted decisively on the recommendations by SASO and the Sugar Master Plan Foundation to file the corresponding charges against the erring firms who have smuggled sugar into the country.
Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr. deserves the full support of Negrenses in his determined effort to curb timber-poaching kaingin and charcoal-making in the Northern Negros Natural Park.
Of special interest is his promise that law enforcers will pursue the culprits behind the ambush early this week of a Task Force Ilahas personnel who were on mission to protect the three-hectare forest at Sawmill 15 of Sito Maryake in Calusong, E.B. Magalona.
Marañon is an emergency meeting of the NNNP Management Council said the provincial government will augment the uniform allowance for Bantay Bukid Brigade members.
These are community members tasked to protect the Northern Negros Natural Park in six cities and five towns.
The grant of additional allowances of P1,250 plus food supplies uniforms, and insurance while on patrol will actually mean a lot to Bantay Bukid members.
Meanwhile, Canlusong, even during dry weather, can be noticed with a lot of white smoke. This is reportedly because charcoal-making is going on. Even during daytime there are indications that these activities are going on in that area of E.B. Magalona and other nearby areas of Mt. Silay.
In short, these activities mean big money to those engaged in it, the reason why several of them dared to ambush the Task Force Ilahas team.
That meant the message is – don’t interfere with us.
While LPG costs have been gradually reduced over the past few weeks by several centavos and pesos, the Department of Trade and Investment should publicly inform the local consumers on their local pricing.
That is imperative if we do not want to become prey to unscrupulous distributors who wish to dun us as much as they wish to. And the only way for the DTI to protect local consumers is to publish their current prices.
And, by the way, I just want to take up the cudgels for the average household by pointing out the sudden increases in the household bills. For example, my former bill of P4,000 plus, just shot up to more than P8,000 from Central Negros Electric Cooperative. And, if that were not painful, my water bills from the Bacolod City Water District (BACIWA) also jumped up to more than P7,000 from P3,000 in March to P7,000 in April. It got lower lately to just about P6,000. But if you were an ordinary citizen, such leaps in bills certainly is painful.
And, if it affects me, I wonder what it must be for the average household.
Of course I can’t do it anymore. But the “Pang-os tubo” contest reminded me to my childhood favorite past-time. We used to do this with the former La Carlota variety of sugarcane. And my mouth waters whenever I can recall those sweet moments of my younger days when I still had all my teeth.
In short, if you want to have a taste of Negrense food and enjoy the Mayflower Festival, I hope you respond favorably to the invitation of Gov. Maranon to join the First Negros food Festival and May Flower Festival at the Panaad Park and stadium, that started yesterday.*
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